About Austin:

Former IT guy turned spec-fic writer and librarian, Austin Gragg lives in Independence, Missouri.

When he isn't writing, reading, or teaching digital literacy classes, he can be found playing Dungeons & Dragons with his partner, friends, and a pride of small domestic lions.

The Wand Chooses the Wizard

The Wand Chooses the Wizard

Cats are a lot like magic.


In fantasy, there are very few instances of wielders of magic having complete and total control over their Magic. To some extent, the magic chooses them. I've come across very few fantasy worlds where magic is a tool that just anybody can pick up. I’m sure they’re out there, but the most popular interpretation of magic remains that in some regard, you are chosen. There has to be something about you. Something about your essence, that makes you conducive to wielding magic.

My favorite example of this is in Harry Potter, how the wands choose the Wizards. I will never forget the awe and Fascination I had in reading that scene for the first time. And when I listened to it on cassette audio book sitting at my dining room table and coloring in a Batman coloring book, I felt the same awe all over again. And I always feel that awe over and over again, whenever I watch the movie and John Hurt as Ollivander tells Harry that the wand chooses the wizard. Each time, I feel the magic.

I believe pets are magical in their own way.


I'm not going to lie, I look down on the people who strut into a store, point at an animal in a cage and say, “That one! I want that one!” (Sorry, if that’s you, but also, not sorry.) I've always believed that humans and pets need to have some sort of a connection, a special bond, even if it's something as simple as a gut feeling that you get when you look into that animal’s eyes.

When my wife and I  adopted our current three cats (YES, three. It’s a zoo. A Fuckn ZOO I TELL YOU! And I love it!) each one of them was a case of them choosing us. Layla jumped into my lap, and so did James, in the little FIV positive room of the adoption center. And Jack, our little vampire (full name: Jack-o'-lantern Gragg) murred at me when I walked by his cage a year later. And when we open that cage he lept into our arms. And when we let him down on the ground he pranced about the room, proud, as if to show us and tell us, “I am ready to go home.”

The wand chooses the wizard.

And I do like to consider myself a mage.


So, once a month we play Dungeons & Dragons here at house Gragg, and this last month something magical happened. (Yes, more magical than my wife finally getting the spell Fireball as a Sorcerer.) I was already to the front door and in the process of unlocking it when my wife and my younger brother called out from the car. As they got out of the car, a cat had found them. A cat, had chose my wife. A beautiful long haired cat with the most gorgeous eyes and a lioness face. She wanted to be pet. She wanted to be held. And she rolled on the ground at our feet begging for our attention.

Missouri winters are a bitch, and that's putting it politely. No, they aren't the worst in the world, but they’re sporadic, unpredictable, and just not fun. We could not leave that cat out in the cold. It was freezing.

On bringing her into the house we found that she was horribly matted. If I had to guess, she had to have been outside for at least eight months. And she was thin. Too thin. At least, I like my cats to be chubbier— we feed them well here at the Gragg house. So, we took her in. We kept her separate from our other cats just to be safe and put her in the hallway bathroom. Our other cats are FIV positive so we wanted her to stay away from them just in case she might have something they could catch. And, feline leukemia, in case you didn't know, is also transmittable. The little lioness was a sweetheart, and ate three cans of food in the 24 hours that we had her. Three cans, mind you, when normally one feeds our three cats.


Our good friend Danielle, part of our game group (Hey Danielle!) who is an absolute cat fan, was so excited to meet our guest in the hallway bathroom. And the little kitty was very well behaved while we played Dungeons and Dragons. I checked in on her every hour or so.

The next day, we took her to our local SPCA shelter— The same place we got our other three cats—  to see if she was chipped.

And it broke my heart when they scanned her and we found out that she was. In fact, she had been adopted only about a year ago. They told us the house was just a few doors down from ours. So, being neighborly, and hoping of that our neighbor simply lost their cat and had been looking for them for some time now, we took her to the address.

The house looked like all of the other houses on our street. Nothing really made it stand out. But, there was no house number on the building. There was no house number on the mailbox. And, there was no house number on the driveway. But Google (ALL HAIL GOOGLE!) was sure it was the right address. I rang the doorbell and waited, carrier in hand, with that sweet little lioness probably eager to come home.

The curtains rustled and I'm not sure, but I suspect what I heard were the chirpy voices of children from inside speculating as to who was at the door and why. Or maybe it was just a television or my imagination. When the door swung open there stood someone who did not look happy to be answering the door. Shirtless, speckled with tattoos, bald, and missing a few days worth of shaves, a very large man cracked the door a third of the way and stared at me. I asked him if I had the correct address, saying nothing about the cat. He said, “Yeah, that's me, but that's not my cat,” nodding at the carrier in my hands, and then shut the door in my face.

I felt simultaneously angry and ecstatic at that answer. Angry, because fuck that guy for being a rude asshole to the neighbor who was obviously just trying to find the poor animal it's home. But, I was ecstatic, because this meant that we might be able to help this cat. She did after all, find us.

So, we took her back to the shelter. The first phone number on the cat’s account came up as disconnected. And the second number didn't answer, so they left a voicemail. If we were in the city, it would be a 10-day hold that we could place on her before we could adopt her, but because we live in the county it was only a 5-day hold.

So, by the end of this week, we just might have another family member.

I don't understand who could leave an animal behind like that. Were they moving? Had they moved out and weren't able to find their cat and simply left her behind? Did the cat belong to that gentleman's disgruntled girlfriend who left him, and his smug version of vengeance was saying, “That's not my cat,” and shutting the door in my face? It doesn't matter.

The magic finds you. It's never the other way around. The wand chooses the wizard

My heart breaks thinking of this cat wandering around that house for who knows how many months, wondering why she won’t be let back inside her home, why won’t the humans let me in, what did I do, this is my home— But, now, it doesn’t matter. We’re in a position to make a difference.

I'll make sure to post updates as I have them. But it's really looking like we have a new family member coming home at the end of the week.

A Rather Terrible Christmas Poem

A Rather Terrible Christmas Poem

Stuff I like or, How I learned to stop worrying about how to blog and just talk about stuff

Stuff I like or, How I learned to stop worrying about how to blog and just talk about stuff